Policies enacted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are reshaping cultural norms about when to retire, whether women with children should work and whether Japan should admit overseas workers. The Japanese government has long sought to lengthen working lives; in 2004 it began raising the social security retirement age from 60 to 65 and required companies to either raise or abolish the retirement age or introduce a system for re-employing workers who do retire. “Because of their long working experience, they know how the organization works, what is expected of them, they never come late, and they take orders from younger people,” he says. It trains employers on how to recruit elderly workers and design the job to meet their abilities. The Abe government has considerably loosened the rules for working in Japan. There has been a surge of foreign students who are permitted to work as long as they attend school in Japan. Temporary foreign workers can be fired and sent home as soon as the economy weakens.
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